Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Macbook Sleeve Made w/ Handprinted Fabric, Fused Plastic, & Upcycled Denim

Macbook Sleeve

Welcome!  I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend!  It was a day like any other for us...homeschool and sewing projects going on all day.  However,  Daddy WAS home and that made it a special day for my girls and I.

I have a very fun project to share with you today.  I am going to show you how I took my HANDPRINTED FABRIC from my post last week, FUSED PLASTIC from recycled Target bags, and some old blue jeans to make a MACBOOK SLEEVE. (Click on any of the links to see the 'HOW TO' information.)  So gather up your materials and lets get started!

NOTE:  This project was adapted from the Laptop Cover tutorial in the book by Burke, Alisa (2013-05-15). Sew Wild: Creating With Stitch and Mixed Media (Kindle Locations 1251-1255). Interweave. Kindle Edition.

Laptop cover: 10" × 14"  to fit a 13" (33 cm) laptop

Painted and altered fabric scraps in a variety of shapes and sizes
18" × 21" lightweight fusible interfacing
18" × 21"  fleece or thin batting
18" × 21" lining fabric
3 ¼" of hook-and-loop tape
Thread in desired colors


1.  Arrange you pieces on the interfacing material however you want.  Once you have them where you want them, you can iron them to your interfacing.  Do not iron directly on your painted fabric or the fused plastic.  I used another piece of fabric over my pieces and then ironed lightly, just to get them in place.  Then, I flipped the piece over to really iron them down good. 

2.  Here is how I arranged my pieces.  Once your fabric pieces are fused, then they have to be stitched in place.  Make a sandwich out of your fabric pieces (top layer), thin batting (middle) and lining fabric (bottom).  Then, take it to your machine and use a straight stitch to sew around every piece.  I just sew around any edges that are on top and showing.  Then, sew a zigzag stitch around the entire outsie

NOTE:  I forgot to add my lining fabric to the sandwich, so I just stitched it on later.

3.  I decided that I did not want my front and back cover to be the same, so I used some recycled denim material for my back cover.  Take your other piece of interfacing and iron it onto your denim.  I thought a zipper would be handy and would look neat right along the pants seam, so I cut my piece apart and inserted a zipper.   (see picture below)

4.  It's very easy to add a zipper here.  Start by adding your zipper to one side of the denim material.  In the picture below, I am using a zigzag stitch.  Go slow and keep an eye on the needle, being sure it is catching the denim every time.  Then, take the other piece of denim and do the same thing to the other side.  Make sure your pieces are lined up with each other (I often have problems with them being off and then it just gives you trouble later on.)  So don't be like me!!  Also, be sure your zipper pull starts right at the beginning of your fabric.  You can see below where I have mine placed.  I often buy very long zippers so I can use them for any project that may come up.  It's really no big deal...just cut off the end and and then sew it up. 

5.  (Below)  I stitched on some fabric pieces to the zipper ends.  This was probably not necessary, but I have had too many yucky zippers, so I just like to secure them with a nice piece of fabric to avoid anything popping out.  Am I just crazy?? 

6.  If you are a regular to my blog, you might recognize the 'love' cutout below.  It was a practice piece I made while making my Stamped Love Pillow.  WAIST NOTHING....is my motto!  I thought it would look cute here.  I just pinned and stitched it down with a zigzag.

7. The heart:  I've always wanted to try couching thread, so I gave it a try here with this heart.  I just used my regular foot, although I've heard a walking foot is great for this.  Use your zigzag stitch and make your shape as you go.  I would have loved to have drawn my heart on with a marking pen, but since I don't have one at the moment I just had to wing it. 

8.  After I stitched the heart in place, I thought it looked rather drab.  So, I filled the heart with a zigzag stitch.  Much better!

9. My denim side is now finished, so now we are going to go back to the front and take care of some business there.  The picture below is blurry, sorry, but I wanted you to see the foot I use for FREE MOTION STITCHING.  I love this foot!  Once it is screwed into place, lower your feed dogs, set your length to 1.5-2.0 and then stitch away.
For this project you can add some free motion stitching to the front piece to add some extra pizazz (or craziness) however you want to look at it.  I decided to echo some of my stamped flowers.  I could have echoed every circle, but I just thought it might be a little much.  Every girl has her limits!  Although, if you want to see some crazy/fun stitching where I let my hair down, then you HAVE to check out my GRAFITTI BAG!
TIP:  The best tip I can give for free motion stitching is to stitch quickly, but move your fabric slowly.

10.  Now it's time to make your tab.  Take your interfacing piece and do the same thing you did for your cover.  Arrange some scrap fabric onto your interfacing and then iron, stitch down pieces, and finish edge with a zigzag.  I went around my tab 2x, I think.

11.  At this point, your pocket opens up into your batting (middle layer).  So, I just cut the batting away from the zipper and used a topstitch to secure in place. 

You can see my topstitch in the picture below.  I then attached my lining to this piece.  Lay your lining fabric down on top of the batting fabric.  Use a zigzag stitch all the way around to secure your 3 layer sandwich. Then, add another line of topstitching ~1/4" from the previous line to complete your pocket.

I finally attached my lining to the front piece (you already did this in step 1).   I chose to only sew the lining down on the top and bottom b/c I was running out of red thread!!

12.  It's time to attach the velcro.  Sew down one piece of your velcro 2" down from the top of your front piece. 

I realized my tab was going to be too long, and would cover up my 'love' word, so I just hacked off part of it and it now fits nicely. :)  I stitched up the cut end and all is good.  This type of project is great for beginners!  I just hacked off a piece of my fabric and it's really no big deal!!  Gotta love that!

13.  It's time to sew your other piece of your hook and loop tape to the wrong side of the tab.  Make sure you take the time to line up the velcro pieces and then see where you need to position the tab on the back side of the fabric. 

Once you like it, sew the tab to the back cover with a zigzag stitch and an X to stabilize.

14.  LAST STEP!!  Place your 2 pieces right sides together and sew a 1/4 straight stitch along three sides, leaving the top open.  Lastly, sew a zigzag stitch around the seam allowance you just made.  All these zigzag stitches are to keep your raw edges from fraying.

All that is left is to turn your bag right side out!  I clipped the bottom corners (avoiding the straight stitches)  before turning and then used a thin dowel to poke out the corners.


Macbook Sleeve

Fused Plastic Bags on Macbook Sleeve

Macbook Sleeve from Recycled Denim

Macbook Sleeve from handprinted Fabric

Macbook Sleeve from Upcycled Blue Jeans
Macbook Sleeve from Handprinted Fabric
Macbook Sleeve from Handprinted Fabric

So, what do you think?  When I was piecing all these different fabric pieces together, my husband looked at my like I was crazy.  I tried to keep a theme though...same colors and same shapes..pretty much! :)  I'd love to get some feedback on this bag.  When I do open an Etsy, shop someday-that's my dream!, I really want to make bags and all sorts of electronic covers.  So, right now, as my husband says, I'm in R&D (Research and Development).  All opinions are welcome!!
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